Flicking through the cornucopia of digital television channels in Britain, I chanced upon a feature for an Indian song that was a part of a movie called Ram-leela that seemed to be a rustic Bollywood retelling of a Shakespearean tale. The feature deconstructed the painstaking development and rehearsals for a song number called Nagada Sang Dhol that involved teams of artists and craftsmen planning and structuring the music and choreography for a sequence. It was almost like watching the DVD extras for a Hollywood movie in which they illustrate the pre-vis compositing and subsequent digital rendering of a complex special-effects shot, only this was an organic dance number in which dancers’ ankles gave way and tendons got snapped in efforts to bring the song to life. The end result is breathtaking.
The sensory scale and sumptuous production design of this video is almost intoxicating. It’s such a passionate orgy of Indian folk madness that MIA must wish it was the music video for her new track. There are only a few cultures in the world that can do stuff like this.